The room is almost bare. White walls look down, free from the burden of decoration, onto the uncarpeted and split boards of the floor. Once this had been home; now it is like a prison, nobody here, nothing to do, and only the slightest reason to stay. I don’t know when I can leave: trapped in an empty life, living each day like I wish it was the last.
Nothing of mine is here, for the few things which I used to own have already been moved, or sold. Besides, property gives the false belief that you have achieved something. I’ve given up on the idea of achievement. The only real achievement is survival. Avoid the self destruction and you really have something that you can be proud of.
In the centre of the floor, a packet of cigarettes. This looks hopeful, and so I investigate. Empty. The bottle, too.
Nothing to smoke, nothing to do, no-one to see. Not even the fag packet was my own. Some visitor, some time ago. I cannot remember exactly when. It seems not to matter. Sitting back in the corner, I look back over the room. It had probably been good to me, but times change, and the past seems not to matter. In the future there is always potential; it is only the present which really hurts.
Looking down, into my hands. Crumpled cardboard. I read the pack, again and again and again. Luckies, Luckies, Luckies.
“Not so lucky now.”
It seems not to matter. My lungs are still seizing from the night before as I survey the darkness of my room. A small shaft of light enters through a hole in the towel that I have pinned in front of the window. It gives up before reaching me.
There are people outside. Going to work. Walking. Talking. Smiling. Getting on with their lives, without a thought in their heads to question the purpose of what they are doing. Why don’t they see? The only way to cope is to drown your mind in a blissful haze. And what better way to do it?
The morning is already breaking, and it wasn’t the first one like that. The pink china mug was today’s victim, exploding as it hit the wall of the bedsit when I find it empty. No promise to the day there, and with the bottle gone there’s no poison to be had. Just the thought that perhaps I am really here.
By lunchtime I have regained consciousness, and moved to the park. A bench offers some support to my aching back and I find it refreshing, to sit in the warm air, sun shining and a light breeze through my hair. By lucky strike, I found the crumpled remains of a cigarette in my pocket and lit it with England’s remaining glory.
Edited 1 May 2005